Akin Gump Energy Media Briefing Featured by Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

Akin Gump’s “The Global Energy Industry: 2014 Year-End Energy Briefing,” which the firm held for members of the media in mid-December 2014, has been featured by The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel in its January issue.  MCC

The briefing, moderated by global energy and transactions practice chair Rick Burdick, brought together partners from the firm’s public law and policy; international trade; oil and gas; global projects and finance; and energy regulation, markets and enforcement practices to look at issue facing the global energy industry in 2015. It was conducted as an in-person briefing in the firm’s Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. offices and as a webinar for participants around the world.

In its edited transcript, MCC covered presentations made by partners Ed Zaelke, Jamie Tucker, Charlie Johnson, Wynn Segall, Steven Otillar, Dino Barajas, Steve Davis and Ed Rubinoff and senior counsel Vera Neinast.

Among the points made:

  • Regarding the future of the wind industry, Ed Zaelke said: “Why the growth in wind? There has been a constant decrease in the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) from wind, with a 58 percent decrease in the past five years. This was not anticipated.”
  • Regarding U.S. energy policy, Charlie Johnson said: “The area of energy policy has provided ground for agreement and compromise, and, again, we see opportunities for legislative traction with smaller issues – such as energy efficiency proposals – rather than comprehensive issues.”
  • Regarding Russia sanctions, Wynn Segall said: “In considering prospects for the future of the current U.S. and international sanctions regime affecting Russia, recent statements by officials in Washington and in Moscow indicate that the current framework of multilateral sanctions on Russia may likely remain in place for quite some time to come.”
  • Regarding Mexico’s energy sector reforms, Dino Barajas said: “These new reforms have reinvigorated the power sector in particular, and we are seeing a lot of new activity from private equity firms, construction contractors and developers – especially in Mexico’s renewable sector, which is now a focal point for people looking for projects around the world”
  • Regarding U.S. energy exports, Ed Rubinoff said: “Since 1975, in the wake of the Arab oil embargo, the U.S. has essentially banned the export of crude oil – with some limited exceptions carved out by statute – under a regulatory scheme administered by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The regulatory scheme remained in place for several decades because the situation didn't change much…But market and economic conditions have now changed dramatically, reflecting stable demand coupled with the increased U.S. production of crude oil caused by new discoveries and the application of new technologies, which has created pressure to find new markets. Legislative efforts to lift or ease the export ban, however, have not succeeded thus far.”

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